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Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel Paperback – December 24, 2002

4.4 out of 5 stars 370 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Veteran vagabond Potts regales readers with his mantra: anyone with an adventurous spirit can achieve the feat of taking extended time off from work to experience the world. In 11 short chapters that follow the same structure, Potts tells how to negotiate time off from work, prepare for travel, and get the most out of your time on the road. Each chapter contains a profile of a famous proponent of vagabonding (e.g., Thoreau, Annie Dillard), quotes from everyday people with extensive travel experience, and a tip sheet of print and online sources for practical travel advice on topics such as airline tickets and accommodations as well as safety concerns. Alternately warning readers about using drugs in foreign countries and entertaining them with anecdotes from exotic ports of call, Potts gives a thorough recounting of his outlook on traveling. This book seems squarely aimed at twenty- and thirtysomethings; anyone with decidedly nonvagabond accoutrements (e.g., children or career ambition) might be more skeptical of Potts' philosophy. For those with a bad case of wanderlust. Joanne Wilkinson
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“A crucial reference for any budget wanderer.”Time
 
Vagabonding easily remains in my top-10 list of life-changing books. Why? Because one incredible trip, especially a long-term trip, can change your life forever. And Vagabonding teaches you how to travel (and think), not just for one trip, but for the rest of your life.”—Tim Ferriss, from the foreword
 
“The book is a meditation on the joys of hitting the road. . . . It’s also a primer for those with a case of pent-up wanderlust seeking to live the dream.”USA Today
 
“I couldn’t put this book down. It’s a whole different ethic of travel. . . . [Rolf Potts’s] practical advice might just convince you to enjoy that open-ended trip of a lifetime.”—Rick Steves
 
“Potts wants us to wander, to explore, to embrace the unknown, and, finally, to take our own damn time about it. I think this is the most sensible book of travel-related advice ever written.”—Tim Cahill, founding editor of Outside
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Villard Books; 1st edition (December 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812992180
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812992182
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (370 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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By Shannon B. VINE VOICE on July 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
Rolf Potts' tome of vagabonding is an inspirational work rather than a practical guide. While the same practical information is contained in other books, this book shines in the area of travel philosophy. Travel is like a religion, where some people are incredibly fervent about it, while others just don't understand. This book makes you realize that long-term travel is not only possible, but desirable and worthwhile.
I particularly liked the section on working for travel. As a 9-to-5 worker planning a long-term trip, I needed the inspiration to keep going. I liked being told that working will actually make me appreciate travel more. After all, to afford travel, I have to be here anyway.
Throughout the book, there are great little excerpts from famous travellers, philosophers, and explorers, as well as anecdotes from ordinary travellers. Rolf has a particular liking for Walt Whitman, and I may just have to go pick up some Walt poetry now. The literary references in this book let you know that world travel and a simple life aren't new concepts.
The only problem I see with this book is that it may soon become dated with its references to specific websites.
The book is of a small and convenient size to take on the road.
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The hardest part of world travel is acquiring the mindset that nothing else matters as much as the journey. Getting to a place where you reduce your consumption of unnecessary stuff, commit your time, and leave your daily routine behind takes a fair amount of work, and it also takes a major shift in priorities. Vagabonding serves as the kick-start that gets you to that mental place --the "I can do it, and I can do it soon" reply to the siren call of world travel.
This book is inspiring, clear, and helpful. I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to roam, but thinks they don't have enough money or time. I also recommend it for those, like me, who have gone vagabonding before, know what it takes, and just need a nudge of renewal in order to get back out there again. Great book!
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Format: Paperback
Potential buyers should first be aware this is really a book of philosophical musings by Potts and his favorite writers, though at least he has good taste in literature with his numerous quotations from Whitman and Thoreau. But those looking for "nuts and bolts" information on how to prepare for a RTW trip or other long term international travel should buy Rough Guide's "First Time Around the World" instead.

As an avid traveller, I do agree with much of what Potts has to say, especially about getting off the tourist track and experiencing other cultures more fully and realistically. But I also believe that Potts' writing, while very passionate, is often marred by a lack of humility. His intention is to "inspire" people to travel - a worthwhile aim. But his constant insistence that every person should immediately start saving money then quit their job and hit the road often comes off as overbearing and "know it all", without any sense of understanding for other people's situations or priorities - such as work and children.

Personally, I begin "vagabonding" through the United States, Asia and Latin America at 18. Now, at the ripe old age of 37, I still manage to travel every year, also my wife is from Ecuador so we go there quite often. But my career obligations make my trips shorter than they used to be. Hopefully Potts will gain some maturity over time and begin to recognize that his way isn't the only way. Otherwise the guy is a pretty good writer with an intense passion for travel and some intelligent things to say about it. Just remember this is a book of philosophy and opinions rather than useful factual info. So those looking for a guide to travel planning should look elsewhere.
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Format: Paperback
If you have even the slightest desire to drop all responsability and run around globetrotting this piece will only encourage you.

And if you don't have the means to do so this book will torture you with temptation.

Potts doesn't offer lots of cost-saving tips, he instead shares his philosophy of working your life to fit international travel.

If you are struck with wanderlust after reading this book- remember you were warned
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Format: Paperback
This book is essentially about the thought process behind taking time off from your regular life to discover and experience the world on your own terms. If you've been around the world a few times, you'll find it puts many of your fuzzy warm thoughts and ideals into words. If you haven't, it'll probably make you wonder why you haven't taken off already.
People who like to plan and be prepared should treat this as a companion to more nuts-and-bolts guides. Others may find this plenty since travel is all an adventure anyway. It depends on your personality and comfort with the unknown. The rarely expressed aspect of Potts' book, however, is the acknowledgement that both work and travel are admirable and that one complements the other. To travel, you must also be productive sometimes. But to be productive, you also have to continually learn and see other points of view. Traveling abroad on more than a one-week vacation makes this possible. An entertaining and inspiring read.
Tim Leffel, author of THE WORLD'S CHEAPEST DESTINATIONS
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